Tree Planting Mini-Grants

a special note to our friends:

Due to COVID-19 safety guidelines regarding gatherings, the timeline for  “spring” 2020 applications, award decisions and planting projects will be extended. We will send all applicants updates regarding timelines via email.  

about the program

In partnership with the City of Grand Rapids, Friends of Grand Rapids Parks is on a mission to increase our city’s tree canopy to 40% (from its current 34%). This means that when the city is viewed from above, 40% will be covered by tree canopy. We call this collective effort the Urban Forest Project. Its success relies on the support, partnership and commitment of community members like you. 

Friends collaborates on tree planting projects throughout the city because every tree matters as we work toward this goal! A single tree’s canopy can grow to spread 40-80 feet wide, not to mention the many benefits that trees provide our community.

We maximize the number of trees planted each year through public volunteer projects, tree giveaways, and by inviting community members to help shape plans for their neighborhood tree canopy with Tree Planting Mini-Grants.

frequently asked questions

A mini-grant is funding awarded to interested groups for tree plantings ranging from 10-30 trees within the City of Grand Rapids. The Friends of GR Parks team will assist interested groups in the process and planning for the tree planting.

Any group representing a community in Grand Rapids is welcome to apply! This could include neighborhood, school, non-profit, block-club, faith-based or other groups. Not a member of an official group? That is okay! You can engage with your community to find partners that support the desired tree planting and apply together. 

This is important because plantings that both involve community members in the process and provide public benefit by planting trees in frequently accessed areas are desirable to the grant committee.

Applications should be submitted by the group’s main contact person. Groups who have not already received a mini-grant in the current calendar year will be considered.

Projects are evaluated by their potential to involve a large portion of a neighborhood, the visibility of their impact on the urban forest, and the applicant’s commitment to on-going tree maintenance.

Have questions about the information needed to apply? Contact Lauren Davis, Urban Forest Project Manager, or Abigail Bruins, Community Engagement Coordinator

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis, and you will receive an email confirmation that your application has been received. Before the Urban Forest Project committee evaluates projects, we will contact you to review and discuss grant criteria.

The committee reviews all applications and awards mini-grants seasonally (in the spring and fall). Mini-grant applicants will be notified of the status of their mini-grant consideration at that time.

If you have questions about the application process, or if you would like to check the status of your application, we encourage you to reach out to Urban Forest Project Manager Lauren Davis or Community Engagement Manager Abigail Bruins.

We will walk alongside you to help you gather or become equipped with the following:

  • Provide at least five volunteers for the day of planting
  • Help identify vacancies where trees could be planted (10-30 sites needed)
  • Identify a couple of date options for the planting to take place
  • Commit to performing or seeking tree maintenance as needed for two years as the trees establish (i.e. watering, remulching, etc.)

Optional: We highly encourage applicants to seek matching funds, either from their own organization or from other community partners. 

We will provide the following to groups awarded a mini-grant:

  • A site assessment by a tree expert to help verify vacancies
  • Guidance for tree species selection based on identified planting sites
  • Ordering and transporting of high quality, location-appropriate trees
  • Day-of training, tools and personal protective equipment for all volunteers at the planting project
  • Resources for on-going tree care and community engagement
  • Ongoing access to Friends of GR Parks’ staff and subject matter experts

ready to submit?

We love partnering with neighbors to bring their vision to life and plant more trees throughout our city. 

If after reading the FAQs, your group and project seem to meet the criteria, we encourage you to submit an application for consideration!